SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter gave his players ear plugs early in the season to tune out any outside noise about BCS standings or anything else out of their control.
Never was that more important than this week when the 16th-ranked Bulldogs prepared to wrap up a perfect regular season by winning at San Jose State on Friday.
"If you start worrying about the end result, we'll get distracted," DeRuyter said.
One day after celebrating the clinching of a spot in the Mountain West title game, the Bulldogs (10-0, 7-0) were greeted with the news that they fell one spot in the BCS standings to 16th and Northern Illinois jumped two spots to 14th.
To qualify for a BCS bowl, Fresno State needs to finish ahead of the Huskies and either place in the top 12 of the BCS standings or top 16 if they are ahead of a champion from an automatic qualifying conference. Central Florida is in position to win the American Athletic Conference auto-bid, but is 19th in the latest standings.
Instead of feeling slighted, the Bulldogs quickly shrugged off the news and began preparing to face the Spartans (5-6, 4-3).
"If we let what the polls or people say about us affect us, it will," star quarterback Derek Carr said. "We'll just continue to work hard. That was the feeling. Of course you get frustrated because you can't control it, but we just continue to work hard."
The Bulldogs have the lead over the Huskies in the polls that determine two-thirds of the BCS standings but are 10 spots back in the computer rankings. That could change this week with Northern Illinois having beaten one-win Western Michigan on Tuesday and Fresno State playing a stronger opponent in the Spartans.
"I think it will all work itself out," DeRuyter said. "The people I've heard from say the computers at the end of the year kind of even out and we'll see. If at the end of the year if things don't work out maybe I'll have an opinion about it."
Here are five things to watch when Fresno State visits San Jose State:
RECORD-SETTING QUARTERBACKS: This game features two of the top quarterbacks in the Mountain West in Carr and San Jose State's David Fales, who both are expected to move onto the NFL next season. Fales needs two completions to hold the career marks at the school for completions, touchdowns and yards passing. Carr already has those records at Fresno State.
"He's very accurate," Carr said. "He makes throws that are NFL throws."
BOWL QUEST: There is plenty on the line this week for the Spartans as well. If they win their regular season finale, they will become bowl eligible. San Jose State hasn't played in bowl games in consecutive seasons since going to the California Bowl in 1986 and '87. The task won't be easy as the Spartans have lost 21 straight games against ranked opponents.
"We don't have to be super heroes to win this game," coach Ron Caragher said. "We're playing against a good team. We just have to come out and play Spartan football."
OPTION FOOTBALL: Fresno State is not putting much stock in what San Jose State's defense showed in last week's 58-52 triple-overtime loss to Navy when the Spartans had no answer for the triple-option. Keenan Reynolds rushed for a record-setting seven TDs as a quarterback but the Bulldogs will be content to let Carr throw it rather than run.
"We were talking about putting the triple option in, but we won't," DeRuyter said. "That's not a game we take a whole lot of time to look at to be frank."
DAVANTE'S DANCE: Fresno State receiver Davante Adams needs one touchdown catch to become the 11th player with at least 20 TD receptions in one season. This would be the ideal week to do it with the game being played near his hometown Palo Alto. Adams is tied for the lead in the nation with 10 catches per game and is second with 121.3 yards receiving per game. His 19 TD catches are as many or more than 76 of the 123 FBS teams have this season.
SLEW OF SACKS: Fresno State linebacker Ejiro Ederaine has done a great job pressuring quarterbacks with sacks in five straight games. Ederaine leads the team with 10 sacks overall but will have a difficult time getting to Fales as the Spartans have allowed only 21 sacks on 450 pass attempts.
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